IFG monitoring bedraggled moose

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SANDPOINT — The Idaho Department of Fish & Game is keeping its eye on a woebegone moose in Bonner County.

The damaged cow has triggered hundreds of worried calls to Fish & Game over the last six months, but conservation officers have opted to let nature takes it course for the time being.

“She’s had a pretty long history with us and unfortunately she has had a rough life. She is indeed damaged, but not enough to put down,” Fish & Game Conservation Officer Matt Haag said in an email to The Daily Bee.

The moose appeared on Haag’s radar in 2010, when she decided to winter in the Ponder Point/Whiskey Jack area. It had fallen or was poked by something that penetrated her nasal bone and destroyed her eye, Haag said.

The following winter, it became entangled in a barbed wire fence on Firestone Road. Haag freed her, but the wire cut down to the bone and created new injuries. She is unable to use a rear leg as a result, Haag said.

A new slug of calls came in when the moose showed up in Kootenai several months ago.

Haag said the moose moves slowly, but does not have a calf in tow. It appears relatively healthy and seems to be making a living out there.

“Winter may get her, but she is tough old moose and may surprise us all,” Haag said.

Haag added that he passed on prior opportunities to dispatch the moose because of its proximity to people and property. Haag said it’s never worth dispatching an animal unless its 100 percent safe to do so.

“The majority of the folks I have talked to have been really supportive of trying to let her live her life out and have been great about sharing their backyards and neighborhoods with her,” Haag said.

The moose has been very docile and not aggressive toward people or pets, but Haag said that could change once winter sets in. Haag said Fish & Game will continue to monitor the situation and determine the best course of action.

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